Piazza del Duomo is the main and most iconic square in Florence and it is given its name for the cathedral it houses, Il Duomo di Firenze, the main church of Florence.
Il Duomo di Firenze is the main church of Florence built in a Gothic style architecture in the 13th century and completed until the year 1436. Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, its full name, is an UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest brick dome in the world. Originally, it was founded in the 5th century but due to its ruined state, it was reconstructed into the cathedral we see now. The inside of the cathedral is not as lavish as many others found in Florence because it was constructed using public funds. However, it does house a number of artworks by important Italian artists and it was also the burial place of bishops for hundredths of years.
Accompanying Florence’s main cathedral is a campanile built in a Gothic-style architecture with a height of 85 meters (278 feet). The tower is divided into six levels, each with a different theme: The ground level depicts the history of mankind from Adam and Eve to the invention of arts and science; The second level, often called the Lozenges, shows the planets, the cardinal values, the Liberal Arts, and the Seven Sacraments; the third level shows sixteen statues, four on each side, from different periods of time; the top three levels contain statues and motifs.
St. John’s Baptistery
Battistero di San Giovanni, or Florence Baptistery was built during the 11th century, St. John’s Batistery is one of the oldest in Florence and the place where many illustrious Italians were baptized including Dante Alighieri. Built in a Romanesque style, the baptistery stands in two piazzas and its renowned for its sets of bronze doors, especially the east panel which Michelangelo dubbed as the “Gates of Paradise” and its impressive mosaic ceilings.
Museo dell’Opera del Duomo
Located east of Florence Cathedral, the museum contains most of the original artworks that used to be in the cathedral as well as the original “Gates of Paradise” from St. John’s Baptistery.